Hybrid work has set new standards in the workplace. But many companies have not realized the full potential of a hybrid environment, primarily because they are still operating in the mindset of traditional workplace practices.
Technical infrastructure changes to support remote work will no longer suffice as employees return to the office for part of the week. Now, organizations must ensure employees have a consistent experience regardless of location.
Ensuring that your company’s culture and technical infrastructure align is critical to improving efficiencies, remaining agile, providing a better customer experience, and enhancing employee satisfaction. This pays off with improved productivity, greater revenue, and talent retention.
Achieving a cohesive company culture within a hybrid environment requires close collaboration between human resources (HR) and information technology (IT). Working together, these teams can ensure their company gets the most from its investments in employees and IT infrastructure, benefitting the company now and in the future.
[ Also read Workplace culture: 4 key priorities for 2023. ]
Transitioning from a traditional company culture to one that supports hybrid work is a three-part process:
- Understanding employee sentiment
- Using organizational change management (OCM) to implement tools and cultural adjustments
- Measuring tools and cultural adjustments and modifying as needed
HR and IT must work together
HR and IT teams must work together to establish an employee experience (EX) program if they have not done so already. By evaluating what employees need and want, companies can better position employees to perform to their greatest abilities, driving productivity and revenue.
Over 60 percent of employees and employers believe EX programs have at least some impact on employee productivity, a company’s ability to retain talent, and the customer experience (CX), according to From Surviving to Thriving in Hybrid Work, a recent Unisys survey conducted in partnership with HFS Research.
An ongoing employee survey is one way to keep tabs on employee engagement and overall satisfaction with the environment or work model. Instead of sending out an annual survey for all employees to complete, HR teams can send one out monthly to a different segment of employees who represent all departments and levels of seniority within the company. This way, HR and IT teams can measure how their technology and policies are best-serving employees, which is more likely to result in desired business outcomes throughout the year. If the monthly survey results identify pain points, leaders can address them in real time rather than waiting until the end of the year to discover and resolve the issue.
Implement changes with OCM
Once HR and IT leaders identify the best tools and methods to support the shift to a hybrid work culture, they must implement them. A robust OCM framework will make it more manageable by guaranteeing everyone is empowered to drive the adoption of technical and cultural changes.
4 tips for seamless OCM adoption
1. Launch a training portal and embed it within the new tool when possible
Providing all communications about a specific tool in one place makes it easier for employees to access the information. Moreover, when learning feels more attainable, employees will have more confidence in their ability to understand and perform new tasks.
When implementing a new communications tool, consider housing the training directly within the new tool. Immersing employees in the new technology or environment removes an additional barrier to entry and gives users the chance to explore the tool’s features.
2. Lead by example
Embrace the OCM process and lead by example to foster employee buy-in. If you haven’t adopted technical or cultural changes, you can’t expect your employees to do so.
3. Gamify tool adoption
A gamified or rewards-based approach to new tools or policy adoption can generate excitement and determination among employees to complete training and embrace a new way of working.
4. Embrace tech champions
Championing technological and cultural changes will encourage all employees to embrace them, but keep in mind that you can’t do it alone. The C-suite must identify and entrust individuals from all levels of seniority and within various departments to demonstrate the value of these changes. Making the case that change is better than the status quo can help boost employee buy-in.
Monitor and analyze implementation to optimize success
Change is not complete once a solution is implemented; it requires ongoing evaluation to optimize performance. Monitoring tools like those embedded in unified communication and collaboration (UCC) platforms enable HR and IT professionals to identify the root cause of an issue, provide detailed insight into adopting a specific tool or change, and ensure companies are on track.
If a tool or adjustment is not having its desired effect, leaders can change course quickly. Having an established EX program also enables companies to analyze their current hybrid environment and decide whether to make additional modifications. The efficiency these resources provide enables companies to pivot quickly, which is critical to quality CX and EX – and thus, business value.
Embrace technical and cultural alignment
HR and IT leaders must work together to keep up with employee sentiment and continually monitor technology performance to maintain alignment between a company’s culture and technical infrastructure.
Providing a cohesive EX, whether working from home or in the office, is critical to employee morale and to offering a top-notch CX. A robust OCM framework makes this possible.
It’s time to leave the traditional workplace in the past and embrace the promise of a hybrid culture that promotes flexibility, agility, and customer and employee satisfaction.